Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson

Senior Surveyor, Valuation & Advisory Services

+44 117 943 5797

Jack.Thompson@cbre.com

 

Bristol is primed for a boom in flexible workspace. It is consistently ranked amongst the fastest growing tech and creative centres in the UK; CBRE’s Creative Regions Report described how a 35% increase in information and communications SMEs and a 10% increase in the millennial population in the past 5 years make Bristol an ideal destination for creative industries. The shift in Bristol’s demography and economy is beginning to bear fruit; turnover by digital tech companies in the city during 2017 was an average of £320k per employee, the highest of any UK city.

The flourishing tech and creative sector has brought with it a change in what occupiers expect and desire from their workspaces. CBRE’s recent EMEA wide occupier survey The Flexible Revolution shows that organisations are seeking agile working strategies that prioritise efficiency, people and experience. Engine Shed, next to Bristol Temple Meads station, is a prime example in how to meet these changing requirements. Here, high-quality office space within converted shipping containers allows tech companies to work alongside their peers in flexible and scalable spaces.

However, flexible workspace is underrepresented in the city. At the start of 2018 it accounted for 180,000 sq ft, just 1.3% of existing office stock. This disparity is starting to be addressed, with a host of serviced office providers moving into the market in 2018. Q2 city centre take-up was dominated by Runway East, taking 30,148 sq ft at 1 Victoria Street for their first co-working location outside of London. Subsequently, Q3 saw Desklodge expand their wildly successful operation by taking nearly 30,000 sq ft in the refurbished Unum House.

With this undeniable trend in the occupational market it is unsurprising that the views of Landlords and Investors on the sector have also changed. CBRE’s follow up survey of Landlords and Investors showed that 77% of survey participants say they are currently considering providing some form of flexible workspace. The largest perceived benefit is an increased ability to retain occupiers as they grow and contract, thereby maintaining income streams.